How Safe Is Your Neighborhood?

Modern life has left us isolated in small worlds of our own choosing. Neighbors have become strangers, which directly impacts the safety of everyone’s homes and families.

When all are strangers, it’s hard to keep an eye out on our neighbors or expect them to do the same for us in times of potential crisis.

Beyond the strained or non-existent human relationships, there are other safety considerations to keep in mind regardless of whether you’re just moving into a new place or you’ve lived there for some time.

Here are ten main safety factors and recommendations to consider in order to make your neighborhood safer.

1. Know your neighbors

Aerial view of residential neighborhood in South Florida

You don’t necessarily need to know every person on the block, but knowing at least the person next door can increase your safety.

First of all, you’ll have a chance to evaluate whether the person is decent or not. For all you know until that point they could be a burglar, and signs of past or current criminal activity could pass you by completely unnoticed unless you finally meet them.

Invite them for a cup of coffee and exchange some basic information at the very least. Maybe you develop a friendship or at least enough mutual respect to lend a helping hand when either party requires it. If you want to extend your neighborhood cooperation, setting up a friendly cookout is a simple and potentially fun way to do so.

If you can’t contact a neighbor and get to know them directly, or you want to know more then they’re willing to tell, you can use online services to learn more about them. Nuwber for example requires only an email address, physical address or the name of the person to list out many private details about them. You could learn a lot about someone’s past by simply searching them online through Nuwber and similar services.

2. Set up a Neighborhood Watch

A Neighborhood Watch program is definitely worth considering especially in neighborhoods that have been targeted by criminals in recent past.

This program can be set up by neighbors who will then monitor the neighborhood in turns, usually during the night when most of the crimes occur.

3. Install motion-sensor floodlights

Motion sensor floodlights will illuminate a relatively large area when some movement triggers the motion sensor. Floodlights are a great inclusion to any home security.

Burglars don’t like floodlights because they can expose their whereabouts not only to the home owner but also to neighbors and others in the immediate surroundings. Floodlights can also improve the functioning of home security cameras, since most cameras provide greater video quality in lighted areas.

4. Maintain cleanliness

Neighborhoods that are well taken care of are less likely to be attacked by criminals. It shows that someone actually lives there and cares about the place enough to maintain it regularly. There are two approaches to taking care of the neighborhood.

Ask neighbors to take care of their yards and also for mutual cooperation when it comes to maintaining the street, signs, shrubbery and other factors that play into the overall appearance of the neighborhood. You could also collectively pay to hire a professional maintenance company to take care of any larger issues that can’t be solved as easily.

5. Ask the police department for assistance

If you notice strange behavior in the neighborhood in form of criminal activity you could definitely ask your local police department to keep an eye out. They could send a patrol every night to check for any signs of criminals.

Speeding vehicles are also a safety concern in some neighborhoods that a regular police patrol can help with. Lastly, a police department will often help in setting up a Neighborhood Watch program if asked to do so. It is after all in everyone’s best interest to solve crimes before they have a chance to happen.

6. Install home security cameras

Security cameras are an essential piece of security technology for any serious business and home owner. Keep in mind that a security camera can film any public area, including the streets. The only significant limit is monitoring another person’s private property or pointing the camera at their doors and windows.

You can install security cameras to monitor your yard, front entrance, ground floor windows and other vulnerable parts of your home. Mention this to your neighbors to make the entire neighborhood a much safer place.

Security cameras are becoming more affordable, to a point where a decent outdoor camera with night vision can be purchased for less than $50. So there’s little excuse for not getting one yourself if you wish to curb criminal activity in your place of residence.

7. Look for strange signs

If your neighbors mail and newspapers are suddenly piling up, their lights are constantly turned on or off, there could well be a problem.

Don’t hesitate to ring the bell or contact them in another way to find out if everything’s okay. Especially if your neighbors are elderly people or they have small children. Likewise, encourage your neighbors to communicate to you if they’re going on a long trip so you can watch out on their place while they’re away. Do the same when you’re staying out of town for a few days or longer.

Fighting and yelling are also signs that may require your attention. An occasional disagreement can happen in any household, but if it’s a repeating occurrence you might need to evaluate whether you should contact authorities or not. Each case is not the same so it’s up to you to make that determination.

8. Close your blinds and maintain privacy

It’s recommended to keep blinds closed or to use privacy film on windows in order to prevent criminals from prying into your privacy. Your expensive TV is probably safer if no one knows about it.

Keeping your blinds closed will also keep any potential criminal guessing whether you’re home or not. For the same reasons, parking in your garage is safer than parking outdoors, not to mention being safer for your vehicle as well.

Final Thoughts

Your immediate surroundings play a huge role for the safety of your home. A neighborhood that isn’t well maintained and is filled with strangers who rarely communicate to each other will have a harder time keeping criminals at bay. So by implementing these tips any neighborhood can become more safe and pleasant.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.